Illustrations in games

I’m toying with the idea of having illustrations put in for my next game. Any thoughts in this and how it works from a technical point of view? (Like what is the best size of image to use, etc) Also, what you think would be a good number of illustrations for a 30,000 word read? (Average read) other thoughts on the use of illustrations?

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Personally, I like illustrations of the NPCs, particularly those who can be romanced. Although often the images, and my own ideas of the characters, can clash.

Or you could do an image at the start of each chapter, setting the scene. So have as many images as you have chapters.

Or give us images of monsters or something.


I know @Eric_Moser has illustrations for each “issue” in his gamebooks–I think that’s four a book? I like that amount, it adds in some art without feeling like it’s taking over the text, and it might be more manageable than having art at the start of each chapter. Would you be doing the art yourself, or hiring an artist? Funds and time are also factors, and I think regardless the at should be spaced out somewhat evenly–doing like, five in the first half and then only one in the second would feel really off balance.

I think I’d like it best marking like, chapter beginnings or ends, or milestones that come at breaks in the text, rather than just interspersed during the narration. Art can add to the scene, but the reader also has to pause to look at it, so you should be careful with placement so it doesn’t break up the flow.


If you read Lone Wolf Saga by Joe Dever, especially the app version, IMO it has a decent illustration spacing.

Although the NPC illustration sometimes clashes with my own imagination, like what @FairyGodfeather said before.

But there’s nothing more satisfying than looking at the illustration of The Book of Kai… ah, forgot what the name is.

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Thanks for all the comments, actually it helps a bit. I wouldn’t be doing them myself, but (hopefully) hiring @Feather, who did the cover for Tokyo Wizard (which I really liked). I also agree that having too many would be a bit annoying, and the point about the spacing and distribution is obviously important… which can be problematic when things branch. I guess I need to think more about that part, but the idea that each one reflects key moments of the story is nice.

@Szaal Yes, the artwork of Gary Chalk in Lone Wolf was very distinctive, I remember those illustrations very well!



@adrao, I agree with others that, generally speaking (see caveat in paragraph 3 below), it’s best that images be placed in the “main narrative” meaning that all readers would encounter all images in a readthrough. It would allow you to space them out appropriately and also show readers why the app price was a bit higher (I’m assuming you’d want to raise the price to account for the art costs).

As others said, I would try to avoid showing the MC too specifically (shadow or silhouette might be cool though!) unless your MC is a defined character. It sorta stinks that, as a result, the MC’s friends and enemies are much more in the limelight in the images, but I think it’s hard to work out that.

And (this is a bit counter to what I said in the first paragraph) you might consider asking your artist for a few simpleish (and hopefully cheapish) sketches that could be used as rewards for a few achievements or just as a mini gallery at the end of the game. Lots of comics/graphic novels have a little section at the end showing conceptual images for costumes, alternate cover ideas, etc., and I might try to include that sorta thing (if the artist is agreeable!)


Oh, a concept art? Digital art?

I’m in for this! Especially when you’re a nerd for such things


I don’t mind ilustrations, it is always interesting seeing how the author sees some characters.

One suggestion, put them after the description of the characters represented, never before. I like to imagine characters my way, and seeing a portrait before creating my own would ruin the experience.



I’m going to voice my personal opinion - don’t take offence XD
I feel that if you have romancible characters drawn; is that sexy / cute is subjective and everyone has a different type.

I think monsters are great though! It can help the readers visualize what the author was thinking of especially if the readers aren’t much of a fantasy reader/watcher.

@adrao if you are thinking of what @Eric_Moser mentioned about the achievements rewards at the end - I’ll throw it in :gift: !
I do love what Eric says about including in the concept art and such - doesn’t put work to waste away in the recycle bin - however I would create it as an option if readers should want to play again or view the art.

@ruhenri I’d love to ask your view of setting and scenery illustrations. I’ve always thought of them as right under the chapter title / before the body text


I always like the points made by @Eric_Moser, so if you are happy to do something like this I think it would be nice to have it!

And, I’m very happy to show the conceptual art… to be honest I haven’t shown it anywhere as I thought maybe you wouldn’t like it, but I can start showing some of it on my FB page if you like? (maybe also link the page to your own page or something like that)

I agree that everyone has a different idea of what’s cute/sexy. As I said, my own ideas often clash with character portraits. (Same if I’m reading a book, my idea of the character and the images on the cover frequently conflict.)

But, if money’s to go on pictures, I think that’s what I find most memorable. I’d rather see people than just see places or things.

I know, if I’m going to ask for images for my own games, characters come first for me.


I think pics of characters can be ok as long as they’re in there early. I find it quite jarring to build up a mental picture of someone then have a portrait pop up later that looks nothing like I imagined.


We can compromise with showing the backs of the characters like most Otome /sim games do XD


Heh! No not the main character. I’d never want an image of them! I’d just want the NPCs. I suppose we could compromise by showing them as birds instead of people though! That’d be a compromise, right? :bird:

@Jacic Yeah I think when they first appear is the best time for the image to be shown.


Well, I guess it would be possible to customise this, asking the reader if he wants to see all images, only those that deal with scenes (no characters), or no images at all.

I guess it’s actually quite easy to do… what do you think about such a solution?

I don’t think too many people object to images do they? Could certainty do what you’re describing though. Poll time? :slight_smile:

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I don’t want images If I want images I would read a comic of playing a videogame. I have my imagination to give shape characters and those images hurting that beyond what I like If a game has images normally means not buying. Except Way walkers

Didn’t Zombie Exodus have some images too? Of your favourite character ever!

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I don’t like those images at all thankfully is only in first chapters. I try to skipping them of my mind … How much I hate illustrations in books. It is like give me a kick in my mental cannon

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Feel free to ask me anything, I like helping. Those kind of illustrations are very usefull in expressing the mood of the setting, so under the chapter title seems fine. I always end up imagining it my way, but I like having the tone of it also expressed in a visual way, something to build on. I am only an “after the text fan” when it comes to characters, being them a constant presence in the story and thus more subjective to the reader.